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What’s the Plural of Syllabus?

Syllabus comes from Latin, which has as its original plural noun form syllabi. Over time syllabuses has also come to be accepted as a plural of syllabus.

Is “syllabus” plural or singular?

The proper use of syllabi/syllabuses in sentences.

The plural of syllabus is syllabi or syllabuses. What’s with the word syllabus, and why does it behave the way it does from its singular to plural form? Keep reading.

What the definition of syllabus?

The online dictionary defines the word syllabus as “a summary outline of a discourse, treatise, or course of study or of examination requirements.”

What’s the plural of syllabus?

The plural of syllabus  (syllabi), is particularly irregular in English: not only does it omit the regular suffix, it changes the spelling of the entire word and, in turn, the way it’s pronounced. This is unusual, even by the standards set from the English language. Only a few other select nouns in English follow this same pattern: cactus plural is cacti, hippopotamus/hippopotami; octopus: octopi, and so on.

Latin nouns ending in -us/-i


Syllabus, and nouns that follow its pattern, belong to the Latinate family of irregular nouns in Modern English. Syllabus is a Latin word; this is evident by the distinctly Latin suffixes -us/-i. Plurals in English mostly add an -s/-es, so syllabus/syllabi stick out.

Not only does syllabus omits the regular -s/-es of plural noun forms, but the way syllabus modifies from singular to plural effectively changes the entire spelling of the word by replacing –us/-i. See the chart:

cactuscacti (or cactuses)
octopusoctopi (or octopuses)
radiusradi (or radiuses)
fungusfungi (or funguses)
alumnusalumni (or almunuses)
syllabussyllabi (or syllabuses)
Latin nouns ending in –us/-i. Chart by Grammarflex.

Syllabus used in context (in sentences)

The professor handed out a syllabus to the class so he wouldn’t have to explain all of the lessons for the year to them.

A class syllabus usually includes dates for major exams and quizzes for the entire semester.

The pilots who finish the syllabus first will act as instructors for the remainder of the syllabus for the others.

A revised syllabus in Archeology offers a wider range of courses.

All pupils, regardless of ability, are taught the same syllabus.

Syllabuses/syllabi used in context (in sentences)

We have developed a new syllabi for them providing for teaching of Pakistan studies, Mathematics, Science and English along with religious subjects.

We identified and analyzed 159 course syllabi of 81 art universities, schools and academies.

The research instrument used syllabi, lesson plans, observation sheets, and tests.

Their support was reflected in the change of educational policies and school syllabi that followed.

Increasingly, philosophers are working to diversify their syllabi, their journals, their textbooks, and their conferences.

Synonyms of syllabus

Origin of the word syllabus

From etymonline on syllabus:

1650s, “table of contents of a series of lectures, etc.,” from Late Latin syllabus “list,” ultimately a misreading of Greek sittybos “parchment label, table of contents,” of unknown origin.


What’re personal pronouns?

Whose vs who’s?


  1. Definition of syllabus.
  2. Origin of syllabus.
  3. Thesaurus of syllabus.

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